Welcome to The Station,
in other words; Nesin Villages Association.
The Nesin Mathematics Village is a small village of about 13,5 acres, approximately 7,5 of which consist of olive groves. It is owned by the Nesin Foundation and is located 1 km away from the village of Şirince (tied to the Selçuk district of Izmir). Perched on a hillside and overflowing with greenery, it is a place where young and old learn, teach, and think about mathematics in peaceful remoteness. Unpretentious and unostentatious, the houses made out of rock, straw, and clay give off a simple welcoming air.
The Village offers a democratizing platform by forming unlikely groups comprising different socioeconomic classes, ethnicities, political views, and religious beliefs. People from every corner of our country and beyond, from different disciplines and backgrounds, come together to think, work, and express collectively. This provides a unique and invaluable opportunity to know one another and allows new dialogues to emerge.
The Station: Nesin Villages Association, is a hybrid community driven by the past and former participants of the Nesin Villages. As students, coordinators, volunteers, and instructors; we are organizing programs, creating modules, and designing collective experiences with different groups and concepts.
Based on our long-standing relationship, we can say that the Nesin Villages, beyond the unique educational opportunities it offers in the fields of mathematics, art, and philosophy, has become a turning point in our lives with the common life culture it has brought to us. For this reason, we want to keep this special relationship with Nesin Villages alive in every situation, even when we are out of the village boundaries.
Apart from the crickets, any factors which could prevent concentration and deep thought are kept away, there are no televisions, no music is publicly broadcasted. But traces of civilization such as electricity, warm water, and wireless internet are nonetheless present. There is no shortage of insect life!
Most activities take place in the summer months; however, in spring and autumn, it is also an ideal environment for various types of work groups, meetings and rest. It could for example be used as a place for an alumni reunion, a honeymoon in the “wild” or a mathematics workshop.
From teaching at the primary school level to the most advanced research, mathematical activities of any level can take place simultaneously in the village.
We now can lodge 400 people, but there is the possibility of pitching tents if more capacity is required.
The word community describes an experience, so common that we never take the time to explain it. Community is both a feeling and a set of relationships among people. A community is a group of people who share an identity - forming a narrative. It’s about people. That's what we believe.
A group of people who share a story that is so important to them, that it defines an aspect of who they are. Members of a community have a sense of trust, belonging safety and caring for each other. They have an individual and a collective sense that they can, as part of that community, influence their environment and each other. That treasured feeling of community comes from a shared experience and shared history. As a result, people know who is and who isn’t part of their community. This feeling is fundamental to human existence.
Community engagement is at the core of our practices. We must transition from teaching the ever-same audience to engaging members of our entire society as co-thinkers and co-producers. It is only through this commitment to engagement, that education platforms can transcend their social bubbles and be sustainably relevant to real people and real communities in an ever-changing world. If new communities form around our activities and constitute themselves around the processes that we facilitate, then our village does and will serve to create social change. Schools are institutions, and they need to be versatile, capable, and well-prepared institutions in order to be able to communicate on eye level with the massive and powerful institutions that drive our lives and commons.
To transcend fragmentation and polarization we function as a hub, a civic laboratory. We use the village as a place for experimentation and collective analysis of our past and potential futures through artistic and cultural projects that we facilitate. This unique space that is created by our participants and workshop leaders lies outside of everyone’s own close circuit and opens new channels for communication.
We would like to tell you a little bit about the Station. All stories in the village begin here. It is the place where you first encounter the Village.
You register there, find out where you will stay, be aware of the general rules of the Village… The first stopover point for the villagers is the Station. The village's students, volunteers and teachers meet here. The village's library, classrooms and terraces are not enough; Mathematics is studied, philosophy is practiced and art is spoken at the station. Villagers like to eat at the Station the most. Over time, the station becomes the threshold that regulates your transition from one state to another. We know because after passing through the Station, nothing is the same for anyone. The station is a shared space. It is a space of life and spontaneous encounters.
And those who left the Village say goodbye here again.
Mehmet Nihat Şan
Eser Öykü Dede